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Monday, 25 July 2016

Pigs in the Panny

Cherry-tastic wildlife walk and picnic, Ludwell Valley Park Sunday 10 July

If a flying horse is Pegasus, a flying pig must be Pigasus. Just one of the porcine anecdotes and activities shared with 35-40 Ludwell folks by storyteller Clive PiG, who joined us for a wildlife walk and picnic around the meadows and orchards.

A PiG's tale: storyteller Clive in action

Ludwell Valley Park looking north east towards central Exeter. Photo (c) E. Stallworthy

Part of the Valley Park, now hillside meadows and hedges with sweeping views over Exeter and beyond - a kind of Devon landscape in miniature - used to be home to a pig farm. As well as Clive's entertainment on the day, there are several local stories about Ludwell. One - or many - are about how The Panny, the Northbrook watercourse which runs through the site, got its name: from the Indian word for water, or where wartime troops used to wash their pans, or relating to sewage disposal. Or to pigs maybe ('panage' is a right to let pigs hoover up dropped acorns in autumn)? Whichever has the best claims to truth, The Panny now runs clear and fast on to the River Exe, ideal for a game of Pooh sticks. 

Poohsticks on the Panny
The serious side of the event was to highlight this open space, so close to the city centre, and its wildflower meadows, mature hedges, enhancements for Cirl buntings, cherry orchards, and biodiversity generally. Local involvement generating ideas about looking after the Valley Park, and for further wildlife enhancements, are a key part of local projects such as Ludwell LifeExwick & Wonford Listening Project, and Exeter and East Devon Growth Point.  

Chrysolina banksi beetle found in the meadow
After some more tall stories from Clive, a pig hunt, and a successful bug hunt, we finished with a picnic among under the cherry trees in one of the new orchards. The cherries were not quite ripe, but give it a week or two....  
Pig on hogweed, naturally enough

With thanks to Tesco, who kindly provided extra cherries for the picnic and supported the event.

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